Saturday, October 29, 2011

Life's Not Fair

I try to stay away from political commentary since that's a great way to alienate readers, but I've recently heard some comments from some of the "occupy everywhere" protesters around the country that bothered me. A common theme I keep hearing is that we need to redistribute the wealth in order to make things fair. I believe society has an obligation to watch out for and help those who are less fortunate or struggling, but I don't think it is the government's job to try and make everything fair. Guess what? Life's not fair.

I can respect demonstrating for civil rights, women's suffrage, or trying to obtain freedom from an oppressive government, but when your cause is a potpourri of random objectives like "I shouldn't have to pay back my student loans" or vague statements like "corporate greed is destroying our country", then I have a hard time empathizing with them.

If you are serious about making things fair, then it's going to take much more than just taking from the rich and giving to the poor. Many people are fine with the redistribution of wealth philosophy, but if we really want to make things fair we should extend it to the following areas too.

Education- It's not fair that some students pull down straight A's while others struggle and fail in school. Why not just give all the students a C+ to make it fair? Also, some schools have way more prestige associated with them than others. I think changes need to be made to education institutions until community and technical colleges are respected and accepted on a resume just as much as Harvard or Yale.

Success- Professional sports teams like the Celtics, Steelers, and Yankees have had way more than their fair share of championships. Maybe we should ban them from future playoffs or only let them play their second string players in games to make it more fair. We need to even the playing field.

Good looks- Why should people like George Clooney, Ryan Reynolds, Jennifer Anniston, and Kate Beckinsale get all the breaks? I demand that ugly people get free plastic surgery and spa treatments from now on. If someone is really good looking they should also be required to get a scar or some kind of blemish to compensate.

Fame- Why is it that so many of the Hollywood actors who claim to support and promote "equality" take an unfair share of work in the movie industry. I think everyone should have a chance to be in the movies. Emma Watson has been in 8 Harry Potter Movies, but most of us haven't even been in one! Why can't I be James Bond for a change? It would be more fair if after you've been in one movie, your Hollywood career is over so we can make room for others who would like to be in a movie but don't have a chance because of all the usual actors hogging the fame.

World Wide Equality- Rich is a relative term. The poorest of the poor in this country are still wealthier than most people in other countries. Are you comparing your plight to someone who owns a vacation home at Martha's vineyard or people living in the slums of Calcutta? Maybe starving people in Africa and India should protest that it is not fair that the poorest of the protesters in America have a much higher standard of living than them.

I know this sounds extreme and you might think I'm a jerk for posing such ridiculous scenarios, but that is what we need to do if we are really going to make everything fair. By the way, I admit there is corporate greed and extreme inequality but I think we have more power to change things if we focus on improving the 99% as opposed to complaining about the 1%. I don't have all the answers, but I believe allowing people the freedom to create their own destiny is a better option than trying to make life equal and only mediocre at best for everyone. We should have equal opportunities, not equal results.


russell jack said...

i like what you said in your last 2 sentences. and while i can't speak for the entire OWS crowd (and i'm sure there are some petty, irrational complaints) i feel this movement is justified.

there is no level playing field. equal opportunity does not exist. what i protest is corporate involvement in politics. politicians are bought and sold. the rich influence politicians to pass bills that rig "the game" in their favor. everyday people don't even have a chance.

banks are bailed out with tax-payer money. the money is supposed to be lent out to stimulate the economy. instead it's spent on bonds and we face a huge credit freeze. all the while the CEOs give themselves multi-million dollar bonuses for driving a failing business into the ground, only to be buoyed up by the government.

fortune 5 companies get government subsidies, and then pay no taxes. they lobby congress to change how the IRS views corporations (as people instead of businesses).

i understand the concept that money follows value. if you create a business that generates millions of dollars, it's your money - congrats. what i can't condone is a government system that supports that which has no value - businesses that, if left alone, would crumble. however, because they give politicians money, legislation is passed that keeps their company afloat.

that is what OWS is all about.

Eric said...

Good thoughts on the subject!
OWS doesn't seem to have a logical message from the news interviews I've seen. But, maybe they haven't found their leader yet. Maybe you could organize them better in a way that will keep them from alienating the public at large?

I'm a former employee of a large company that the government didn't bail out, but I'm glad we weren't. Redistribution is communism, and that doesn't appeal to those of us who work hard, pay taxes and live within our means.

oceangirl said...

I am not a supporter of any street demonstration because it is disruptive and can only makes things worse. However, I also know that things happen as a natural process of actions and reactions.

Tom said...

Russell- I agree with you about corporate involvement in politics and politicians being bought. It makes me sick to see the bail outs for companies and all of the under the table deals that are common in government today.

Our country is being run by banks and we both agree that we need reform, but we need statesmen to undertake and lead that movement who can define their goals and unite people, not just frustrated people with a ton of different demands and ideologies.

M-Cat said...

Well stated. And if we are making things fair, then I demand some plastic surgery, and some of Clooney's money.

Actually, I prefer the pride that comes in EARNING what I have and the FREEDOM to choose to whom I donate my extra to help others.

Anonymous said...

I was open to their efforts at first, but I think they have just embarrassed themselves over time. They even refuse to appoint a spokesman and can't even agree on what they want to accomplish.